Mine Action Day to be marked worldwide

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Tomorrow (4 April) is the United Nations (UN) accredited International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action with nine events globally – five of them in Africa – to raise awareness of the necessity to rid the world of mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

A multi-media exhibition at UN headquarters in New York opens at 19h30 (United States Eastern Daylight Time) with images and interviews of people affected by UXO (unexploded ordnance). The exhibition, a statement has it, will highlight the need for the full implementation of Security Council resolution 2475 (2019), which calls on member states and Security Council members to take into account the needs of persons with disabilities in conflict situations.

The five African countries where dedicated mine action and awareness events will take place are Abyei, where the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is emplaced; Central African Republic (CAR), with MINUSCA headquartered in Bangui; Ethiopia; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where MONUSCO withdrawal is set to be completed by year-end; and South Sudan, home to UNMISS and operational since July 2011.

There will also be mine action and awareness events in Colombia, South America; Syria in the Middle East, and Afghanistan in Asia.

All nine events are under the aegis of the UN specialist mine agency – UNMAS (UN Mine Action Service), now in its 18th year of existence.

In the DRC, UNMAS is partnering with the Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) and the Congolese Mine Action Co-ordination Centre (CCLAM) in Kinshasa in recognition of mine action day.

In South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, UNMAS South Sudan is the lead agency for an event focussing on young people and featuring what is termed “an explosive ordnance risk education song”.

The CAR will see a high-level roundtable with Prime Minister Felix Moloua in attendance and in Ethiopia a number of UN agency chiefs, including the local UNMAS office and UNICEF as well as a local mine action non-government organisation (NGO), speaking.